9626 – Micro & Small Food And Drink Businesses

05 Aug

Questions are often asked of me that I don’t know the answers to, hence a further FOI to wag. Follows are their answers in full:
1. What number of micro food and drink producers are there in Wales?
2. What number of small food and drink producers are there in Wales?
In response to question 1 & 2

In 2014 there were 335 food and drink local units in the micro size band in Wales and 105 small size band local units. Food and drink is defined by the following standard industrial classification codes 10.1 to 10.9 inclusive and 11.0.
The published report “The value of Welsh food and drink” details 520 units in the Welsh food and drink manufacturing and processing sector. The work delivered through this report was to identify robust sources of data which could be referred back to and updated over time with proven and consistent methodologies in terms of data collection.
‘Local units’ was decided as the measure for this report and refers in this definition to food business within the food manufacturing and processing sector. A local unit is an individual site (for example a factory or shop) associated with an enterprise. It can also be referred to as a workplace. So for this exercise it refers to an individual site or enterprise within the manufacturing or processing of food and drinks. The business has to derive its main income from this activity.

You also asked a question on how we communicate to food and drink producers in Wales.
The Welsh Government communicate bilingually in numerous ways, such as website ( / social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin, you tube, flickr) press notices.
The Welsh Government’s Food Division also communicates bilingually via website ( / social media (twitter – @bwydadiodcymru / @fooddrinkwales) press notices and through case studies.

Well, I’ll be interested in your take on these figures, thankfully our Food & Drink producer database is in a much healthier position than wags! That large difference between our two databases would be amusing if it wasn’t so serious.

As for how wag food communicate to food and drink producers, this seems to sum up what I’ve been saying for years – communication is the key. I’m not convinced wag’s uninteresting websites, which hardly encourage regular, if any visits and social media are the best ways to communicate. As most producers have websites and many have online shops, producers are rather good at answering emails, so why do wag food not send food and drink producers emails and eshots? Food and drink producers rightly complain how busy they are and they, unlike civil servants are not working 9.00 -5.00, five days a week. So despite the fact that some of them do now use social media – it is an extra job for them to do. So I still think wag food are not doing a good jobcommunicating with food and drink producers. The onus is on them to chase and search for news from wag food? I still cannot see that’s the correct way around. As for press notices, that has to be a joke that fails to raise even a smirk for me. I’ve never known a government department that’s as poor at communication as wag food. But after offering constructive criticism on their lack of communication, I might as well admit that after ten years I’ve got nowhere. Actually I think their communication is getting worse, and who would have thought that could happen? As I’ve said before you could never, ever, run a business like this.

Why do I have to waste my time using the Freedom Of Information Act to get information about food festivals? Information that used to be sent out to me automatically? I think that’s disgraceful. Just what is so secret about asking how much festivals have asked for in funding? What they been given and why many have been reduced? This is European money and details of spending should be easy to obtain and is most certainly in the public interest………….


Tags: , , , , ,


    August 5, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I must thank you for putting in so much time getting this info.
    I’m interested to know what is happening in my industry and I’m pleased I’m with you guys because you keep me in the food loop. I haven’t time to do social media – I simply haven’t and as for going on their websites – give me a break they are too boring to waste any time on. Kath’s right as she so often is – email and mail shots. Why can’t you listen to her?
    It speaks volumes when there are more food and drink producers that you know of than wag food does?
    And I’m sure you, unlike the many quangos, haven’t been paid big bucks by wag food to put your database together.
    It looks like we’ve to put up with this department that I rate as very poor, because there doesn’t seem any way to get our messages and grumbles through to them. I haven’t got the guts like you to challenge them direclty. I’ve read how you’ve been treated and I cannot risk sticking my head above the parapet.

    Arrogance is a costly trait and never more so than with this dept.

  2. bow

    August 5, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I’m with you 100% on yet another post.
    But just read a comment from a producer not feeling brave enough to have a go at wag food as you do on our behalf. I’m with him. I’m also a coward and daren’t argue the toss with wag.
    I only put comments on here because I don’t have to leave my details, it’s just you that’s got my email and I trust you totally.
    I don’t know what else you can do to get wag food to listen.
    Fancy having a Welsh foodie magazine and the food dept are never in it. What great backing for our industry, I think not!
    I’m against you though for not telling the truth about wag food in the magazine. It might help your readers make their minds up about the election next year and they might support us more when they know that we have a food dept. working against us?
    You’ve no need to protect them after how they’ve treated you and Ian.

  3. Mr T

    August 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Wag food try and convince you they communicate with us, well thank goodness you are not going to accept that rubbish.
    You know better than most how you have tried to get them to talk to us. But they cannot, or will not listen because wag think they know best when we all know they haven’t a clue what makes producers tick.
    I’ve neither the time or inclination to spend time on social media and I’d never visit their website if it was the only food site going.
    You have it right on this site. You talk sense and ask questions that wag food would prefer not to answer. Good on you girl.
    As a Bow producer you, Ian and the team send me food emails should wag food bother to send any out, which we both know they rarely do.
    You send us any food news, you put us in touch with one another if you think we can work together, and keep us in the loop on festivals.
    Basically Kath you are doing what wag is paid to do and instead of them being grateful they treat you like the enemy.
    I think they are sad souls

  4. BOW

    August 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    My dad said, keep your friends closer and your enemies closer. Pity wag food haven’t got the nerve to do that.
    Bearing in mind they’ve made YOU the enemy whereas food producers think you and Ian are the best things to happen to Welsh food and drink, ever.
    You can really only pity the Welsh food dept.

  5. Tess

    August 7, 2015 at 8:23 am

    It’s time you accepted that you are trying to deal with people that have no commonsense.
    Most civil servants have never run a business for their sole income. They have no understanding of the problems, pressures, stresses we face and despite the job we are paying them to do, they can’t be bothered to find out.
    In my book it doesn’t say much for the senior management but as they are also civil servants, we can’t win and neither can you. Those guys are not big enough to admit they have got so much wrong, they can hide away and they do.
    My take on this, right or wrong, is that if I was the new head of food I’d have bitten your hand off to get your take on things and aks for your input officially. That’s too simple for them and they’d lose face. His title is head of food, but he can only be a puppet with politicians pulling his strings. It doesn’t strike me that he’s able to make his own decisions, if he could, maybe we wouldn’t be in this sorry state.
    I seriously regret you backed him, he’s shown clearly that he’s not worth it. Although I am at RWAS etc. I haven’t a clue who he is which is another bad move on their part. Their view is don’t mix with the riff raff that are Welsh producers, that’s how I see it.
    That’s my take on things and I know I’m not alone, other producers I talk to are saying the same.

  6. Parrot

    August 7, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I have worked out the type of civil servants I’m trying to deal with – after ten years. But as I’m working for our Best Of Welsh producers I’m not giving up.
    A head of a business can do more than a head of a government dept can because the restrictios they are working under are likely to be less. Maybe he enjoys being a puppet. I really don’t know. I’ve only spken to him twice, but that’s more than many producers, I do know that.
    As for my backing him can we please draw a line under this one. PLEASE!
    I backed him when he first came because it was the right and fair thing to do. Not just from my side, but for our BOW producers. He deserved a chance. A chance to improve on the last head of food and the way that dept was run.
    You can say that was wrong of me but I disagree – it wasn’t, it was fair.
    The fact that it hasn’t worked out as I’d hoped is very disappointing, but with this department it was to be expected. I hoped for miracles but it was a very, very, very long shot.

  7. bow

    August 7, 2015 at 11:03 am

    LIke to chat to you about this – hope you’re at Cardigan tomorrow

  8. Parrot

    August 7, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I shall be there tomorrow but not for long I hope!
    Happy to chat but please don’t have a go at me about wag food
    I’m simply reporting to welshfoodbites what I’m given by them.

  9. Bow

    August 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I wish I had your courage to tackle wag food head on as you’ve done over the years.
    I admire you for that. There’s no way I would criticise wag food and am only on here because I don’t have to give my name or company.
    I despise wag and food dept. for how they’ve treated you and the team. All you have done is tell them the truth, but that doesn’t sit well with those arrogant beggars.
    They were stupid enough to pull their advertising with you assuming their threat and bullying tactics would stop you asking questions. Praise be it didn’t.The stupidity of a food dept not backing our Welsh food magazine is a farce and was one of their bullying tactics.
    You should air their dirty linen in the magazine, there’s enough of it. Sure your readers would support us more if knew what iditos we have to deal with. That’s how I see it anyway.
    I know why you haven’t and I know you are sick of people saying it, but I too believe you’re wrong on this one.
    Every credit to you Kath.
    But if/when I get my grant, I still wont have the guts to tell them how bad I think that department is. I wouldn’t employ any of them as they’ve no clue what EARNING your money means.

  10. FOODIE 5

    August 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

    You’ve come out with so many sayings, they’re now classics!
    You couldn’t run a business like this,
    Communication is the key
    Yet you’re making no progress at all with wag food. Because you’ll not give up or back down, they’ve bullied you. They’ve said you’re not a journalist which makes them, as I understand it, utter idiots.
    You’re an editor, a journalist, and you own welsh country magazine, but that in wag’s view doesn’t mean you’re not a journalist, you should never find fault with them, they’re not big enough to take thee truth.
    Poor things.
    Fancy ‘a journalist ‘ having the cheek to criticise the food department. Horror of horrors and hence their bullying. It’s easier for wag food to do that to you than act like adults and talk to you – communication is the key. Or have I said that before?
    They’ve made a rod for their own yellow backs because this site didn’t exist when they worked WITH you and Ian FOR OUR BENEFIT. It’s actually us complaining but we daren’t talk to wag. Can’t they see how we feel from this site? Surely even they can read, but we are easy to ignore.
    This is how I view this department.
    I can only rage that this has gone on for so long. I think wag food are without doubt the biggest fools and the biggest losers. Pity they aren’t clever enough to think that through and work that out.
    Put wag food in welsh country, show your readers what they get up too because they’ll find it tough to believe, please Kath. Many of us think it’s the only way. Your readers can force them to change.

  11. Jess

    August 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Wag have done now I’m going to try it but with good intentions.
    I’m going to talk to producers I see at markets and festivals and see if we can, on masse, persuade you to chnage your mind about putting in Welsh Country mag what those civil servants have been up to, bullying you. Tell readers about the money they waste on stupid projects that gain us nothing and the waste and the lack of support we get. Your readers will not believe wag food cannot talk to us directly, we’ve to get on their difficult website, or use social media. Or wait for them to send you a rpress release for you to send to us. They can’t tell us what is going on and I think they are totally pathetic. Nothing will change my mind about their backward attitude and their rudeness to you and the team there.
    PLease Kath rethink. Publish and be dammed is one saying, but I say to you, tell your readers the truth. My take on it is that the food department is not doing a good job for us. I’m not convinced they are fit for purpose, but what do I know I’m only a food producer fighting to keep trading.
    They don’t deserve your support, they never have in fact quite the opposite.
    I’m serious about this becasue I cannot see wag food changeing their attitude unless you publish, wash their dirty linen in Welsh Country, there’s enough of it to fill plenty of pages.

  12. BOW

    August 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

    You’ll be cross with me joining the bandwagon of producers wanted you to ‘out ‘ wag food in welsh country.
    For goodnss sake Kath, they’re nowhere near worthy of your support, not after how they’ve treated you. No clue what the Welsh equivalent of sending to Coventry is, but blow me that’s what they’ve done to you and Ian.
    And why? For giving them constructive criticism. No-one likes being told they are not doing a good job, een civil servants, I get that, but these are people we pay their wages. They’re supposed to look after food producers but from your posts on here they don’t even know many of us even exist. It’s rubbish.
    Way back on here I’ve read that wag have told you your opinions are welcomed and they want to hear them, how two-faced is that? It’s a lie otherwise they wouldn’t be bullying you would they?
    This is how I’m looking at things and I don’t think this dept. is working for us.
    I’m livid that this food dept. cannot back the best food magazine I’ve seen. Sure I’m biased, as I’m with you and have been for years, but I’m backing you because you are backing producers. Wag food should do the same unless they’ve forgotten what their role is. But for some reason they wont. So now do their dirty washing in your pages. Please Kath change your mind. Many producers are saying this.
    You owe them nothing, zero, nil.

  13. Parrot

    August 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    It will be easier if everyone accepts that wag and wag food will do as they think fit. They are not obliged, legally or otherwise to explain their actions to us the tax paying public.
    I agree no-one likes being told they aren’t doing a good job, even if feedback is constructive. But pointless asking for comments and feedback if it’s not wanted.
    I’m getting more and more producers asking for me to change my mind about putting wag food in WCM. But I do have to consider my readers. Do they really want to know what a poor job I think wag food are doing? If I was certain they did want to know this and IF it was guaranteed that they’d then support all our food and drink producers because of that, I’d have to go with it.

  14. Trader

    August 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I’d also like to jump on this bandwagon and say publish about wag food in the magazine.
    You’ll really get fed-up with more of us saying this, but like you we’ve had enough of a food dept that I and others don’t think is working for us, especially micro producers.
    I don’t envy Buster braving that board either.
    But at least we know you two are working for us. I’ve a lot of respect for both of you.

  15. bow

    August 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

    My take on this is do not, however strongly you feel, put your views and speak to wag food dept. or the Welsh government and tell them they’re doing things wrong.
    Our views and opinions are not required by them.
    As business owners, we need customer feedback, even if it’s not positive, because by listening, altering practices, operating differently, we’ll improve and so will our businesses.
    That doesn’t relate to wag food which is why little improves. Kath has always been constructive and much of what she says comes directly from us because we are too frightened to tackle wag ourselves. When they’ve treated Kath like a leper, it shows we were right. But we are cowards asking her to fight for us. She’s paid a heavy price for doing that. I don’t think she’d have started this site if wag food had continued to work with her and Ian. For goodness sake she’s supporting food and drink producers which is wag foods’ job – not hers.
    I’m disgusted and I will say this, wag & wag food think it’s acceptable for them to bully Kath and the team. It’s not and never will be but their arrogance sums them up. It’s sad for me to say I’ve no respect for them but sure have for Kath an Ian.
    Wish they ran wag food.

  16. Furious BOW

    August 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

    How can a department for food and drink not know how many producers there are of all sizes? Their figures can’t be correct.
    How can wag food be so pathetic to say social media and their poor website is sufficient communication for food and drink producers?
    I don’t feel this department is fit for purpose.
    Without Kath and Ian keeping us in the loop we’d know NOTHING AT ALL. But they are doing wag food’s job, and they collect their pay.
    Then to add to it wag food penalise them instead of being grateful for those two helping them out.
    There’s no hope this will change for the better for us as we can’t get rid of this dept. But we can try with the government next May.

  17. Jen

    August 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    You’re in the right here and wag food are in the wrong, that’s how I see it.
    I also think you’re wrong about not putting news from here in the magazine and showing Wales what wag food are really like as a dept.
    Understand why you took the stance you did, so why not change your mind? Women are allowed to do so and you sure are after what they’ve done to you.

  18. BOW

    August 19, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Freedom of Information. Why are you having to do this?
    Because wag will not treat you as a journalist with the respect DUE TO YOU AND YOU HAVE EARNED.
    I’ve no idea how you go about doing these FOI but wag are giving you no choice.
    To me this is a disgrace and it wastes your time and wag’s time. This shows the secrecy and poor practices of this government, especially in food.
    I don’t trust them and say Kath DO NOT LET THEM GET YOU DOWN, THEY AREN’T WORTH IT.

  19. Bow

    August 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

    You are fighting and losing against the civil servants in their glass tower. You’re trying to change these guys but they’re a total, total lost cause. Give up. It’s impossible to change arrogant people and that’s what you’re trying to do.
    It’s dreadful to have such a low opinion about a department that should be supporting us, but I think this is fact.
    If they’d listen to you and Ian and stop treating you two as the enemy, changes could be made.
    I see wag food as the enemy. You two just back us and you pay the cost as it annoys wag food.

  20. JO

    August 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Sorry Kath got behind on your site.
    You’ve been busy again trying to get answers out of a very silent, secretive dept.
    What a load of garbage to think all producers have the time to follow social media. The biggest joke is their website, you’d only venture on there if you’d no further hope. Yours is the popular food website. This site is interesting and despite the workload for you so worthwhile to help us.
    It’s shockinhg that after all these years they’ve not grasped from this site and comments what you do to keep us in the food loop and tackling wag with questions we daren’t ask.
    You and Ian are the lynch pins on Welsh food and drink. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell wag food that communication is the key, this falls on deaf civil servant ears, they’re not interested. They are alright JAck. Sending that out shows how out of touch they are with us , well those of us they know about. A. N. Other poor joke.
    It’s more us and them than it’s ever been.
    I’m entitled to my opinion on wag food but I daren’t tackle them on the phone in case I’m blackballed.

  21. Foodie 4

    August 20, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Surely wag food are all over this site. If not they should be, as this would tell them what producers think and feel about food and drink in Wales.
    If wag were sending out press notices this site would be full of them and Kath always sends around any food news to best of welsh producers.She’s too kind helping them do their job.
    Wonder why I’ve not been asked about a case study. Maybe because I’ve not had a wag food grant, isn’t that how their system works?

  22. Barry

    August 21, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Since you taken the bother to get this info for us, producers should challenge wag food, but the fact is we daren’t. Bullying you and black balling producers seem to be wag’s strength. Shame their strength is not with backing us.
    You are totally wasting your time trying to change this lot, you really are. There’s no hope things will improve. They don’t even know how many food and drink producers there are in Wales, that sums up that dept.

  23. Andy

    August 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Hi, wondering if any BOW attended the Big Food & Drink event in Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall last weekend and what they thought of it.

  24. Bow

    August 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Andy I’d no idea this was one not really my area but might have looked at it if I’d have known about it but past events in Swansea I’ve not found that good.
    Kath why didn’t you tell us about this?

  25. Parrot

    August 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Well basically it’s not my paid-for job to do that.
    But I hope you are asking wag food and Swansea council that same question – why didn’t they tell you?
    Just let me say, if you wish to know why I didn’t tell you about it, it was because Swansea were not advertising that event with us and if I recall correctly they never do.
    It might have skipped your mind that advertising is how we keep publishing. So why would we promote an event for free? If we did that why would anyone bother advertising with us?
    We email as much information as we can to our BOW producers, but that’s not what you signed up for with us, it was just for an advert. But we do try and throw in any extras that we can as wag food will not communicate with you.
    Check out Fork2fork website. They are backed and supported by wag food, but did they tell you about it? Of course not. It’s down to you to look at their website, which you pay for and have done for at least the last 4 years.
    Sorry I’m not wag food’s advisory service or for that matter doing a servvice for Swansea. Ian did ring them a few times and got pushed around in circles as always happens with local government and civil servants. ‘I don’t look after that so tough luck caller’
    I am sorry you missed it but please don’t blame me.

  26. Andy

    August 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Swansea Council, I believe only rented out the Brangwyn. It was a company called JR Events that ran the show.

  27. J

    September 11, 2015 at 9:42 am

    You couldn’t make this up, you so couldn’t.
    I’m not sure why anyone would try and find what help they needed on wag’s food website and as for ringing the food team, why would you bother to either be left with no-one answering your call or pushed around and offered no help?
    Of course producers of all sizes have lots of time and staff to do social media.
    This is the only Welsh food site I go on because it tells me how things are. You have the guts to say how inept wag and wag food are and that’s the only reason you get bullied from civil servants. I’m a producer and that’s my take on this situation.
    Pity they haven’t the brains to read this site and act on it instead of letting Kath do their job and talk to us.
    Typical civil servants – just take our money and keep ignoring us. No wonder nothing changes. Are they fit for purpose? But what difference do our views make? None at all.
    thanks for this site I enjoy reading it, but furious on the content and wag’s attittude to you and us.
    Can we catch up at Abergavenny festival?

  28. Parrot

    September 11, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Sorry I’m not going to Abergavenny, but give me a ring when you have time.
    After nine years attending Abergavenny as Press, I was refused Press Tickets last year!! I was told: This year we have undertaken a review of all the complimentary tickets we give out to various people and organisations. We have done this as part of our continued efforts to become financially self-sustainable. For this reason we are not able to offer you complimentary press passes this year.

    Of course that ban didn’t apply to ALL press……so I wonder if it was just me being banned…….
    I haven’t bothered appplying this year so I’ll not be attending this year and can have a Sunday off.

  29. BOW

    September 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    So many comments about this piece, but it will never make any difference to this gov. or the food dept.
    Civil service arrogance rules and many politicians in this gov. couldn’t care less about us.
    Thanks for your help in highlighting the problems we are facing but it’s tough when your nose isn’t brown and your face doesn’t fit with this gov.
    sorry you’re not doing Abergavenny. I can take you both in …….

  30. Parrot

    September 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    thanks for writing a comment.
    Abergavenny again this year are not advertising with us so it seems I’m still on their black list.
    I haven’t aksed for press tickets and cerrtainly haven’t been offered them either.
    but thanks for offer of going with you but think it’s best not to go again.
    Sure Abergavenny team will miss Ian and I ………………………………!!!!

  31. Tess

    September 15, 2015 at 10:10 am

    It doesn’t matter how many comments are left on here. Obviously wag food are reading them otherwise why would they keep bullying Kath? They’ve said she’s not journalist, proof I think that they’ve no idea what they are doing in food. Thye are so out of touch with our lives as producers.
    I wish elections were for civil servants in May but too many of them have a cushy job for life.

  32. BOW

    September 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve heard what I think is total garbage from wag, but this tops the lot.
    Paying lip service to welsh food and drink.
    wag only fund those whose faces fit, then bully anyone that says they’ve got things wrong.
    Don’t communicate to producers because in wag food’s eyes we don’t need to know anything.
    For them to talk about using social media is a joke without a laugh. Many producers haven’t the time to look after social media when some of us struggle with our websites.
    Thank goodness Kath and her lot send us any food news by email and then run this site for us. Wag food should take lessons from them, but of course arrogant civil servants can’t learn anything.

  33. bow

    September 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Gee whiz
    Wag and wag food haven’t thought that email is a good way to contact food and drink producers. But the reason is they’ve no wish to communicate with us as they rule.
    At least you give us what news you get through Kath and it’s not your fault you aren’t sent much. Pity you’re not a journalist in wag’s opinion!!

  34. bow

    September 25, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I’d like wag food to tell usfor sure how many food and drink businesses there are in Wales and what size they are.
    520 doesn’t ring true to me.
    Many, many food and drink companies do not attend food festivals because they’ve decided that’s not their market as they’ve been well-funded by wag food to grow via supermarkets. But the bigger food festivals are easily getting 200+ food stands attending. So I’m struggling to understand how these government figures stack up and how wag is going to achieve 30% food and drink growth by 2020.
    It seems to me it’s going to be the big companies who will be paid even more by wag food to export.
    Wag food have always ignored micro businesses and despite Kath trying to get them to understand but wag food have never listened. They are civil servants who we pay, but there’s no way we can make them understand how we try to earn a living.
    30% growth in the next 5 years, I can’t wait to see how that arrives.
    Thank goodness we’ve an election in May
    I hope that this site and the magazine works hard to get people to vote this government out.

  35. Parrot

    September 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I’m not doing anything ‘political in WCM but will encourage as many people as possible to quiz those who wish to be our AMs and get them to answer questions.